THIS is with reference to the editorial ‘Srinagar G20 boycott’ (May 21). India’s stratagem of holding the summit meeting of the heads of states in Srinagar, the capital of occupied Kashmir, was an attempt to gain international recognition of its contro- versial annexation of disputed territory.
The strategy failed miserably as some of the G20 countries either refused to attend the Srinagar moot, or delayed the confirmation of their participation, which was clearly a diplomatic snub of sorts. China, a G20 powerhouse, was the most outspoken entity as it flatly refused to attend the summit. It announced its decision early and specifically mentioned the venue of the summit as the reason behind its decision, saying it was “firmly opposed to holding … meetings in disputed territory”. That was as unambiguous as it gets.
The most unfortunate part of the whole episode, however, was the decision by G20 members from the Western world to attend the summit regardless of the controversy surrounding the event. These very powers are never tired of crying hoarse over Russian military intervention in Ukraine, but chose to attend the summit in a territory occupied by India. That was as hypocritical as it gets.
During the meeting, as per reports by global media, India took all the steps that it could to ‘sanitise the situation’. New Delhi accelerated raids, arrests and persecution of the local people ahead of the summit.
The UN rapporteur on minority rights noted that by organising the meeting in Srinagar, India sought to normalise brutal and repressive denial of the rights of Kashmiri Muslims. The office of the rapporteur further said that G20 was unwittingly providing a venue of support to India’s violation of human rights in disputed regions.
The silence of the entire West on the matter was criminal, to say the very least.
Akbar Jan Marwat
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2023